Written by:: Haley Westervelt
If you follow the day-to-day happenings at the Hiptipico office via Snapchat, it’s pretty evident that we’re an office full of animal-lovers. It’s basically a prerequisite to working at Hiptipico. We’re very fortunate to have a local organization, AYUDA, in Panajachel that helps the street pups in our community, including all of our office rescue doggies!
AYUDA [in Spanish, “ayuda” means “help”] is a local nonprofit dedicated to helping the health and well-being of local street dogs and cats around the lake. AYUDA has their work cut out for them because in general, many animals are mistreated in Guatemala. Because Guatemala is a poor country where life is difficult for many, poverty combined with an unkind attitude towards animals fosters a damaging situation for both domestic animals and non-domestic animals. The plight of animals in Guatemala is not a question of inherent cruelty and unkindness, but one of ignorance and misunderstanding. There is a systematic cultural issue and a lack of education about the welfare of animals and how to care for them. AYUDA combats these issues and has helped countless dogs and cats in our community, including our own pups, Godi, Ixi and Mona.
Each month, AYUDA has sterilization and vaccination clinics in seven of the thirteen towns surrounding Lake Atitlan to help animals. In addition to these clinics, AYUDA also teaches in local schools about compassion for street animals and fosters homeless animals whenever possible.
The Hiptipico team wanted to find a way to best help stray animals in our community through an organization that understands the complexities of the problems in the field. AYUDA often needs volunteers to assist them at their monthly clinics. Since there are so many animals brought to the clinic, many of them are in a state of anxiety because they’re surrounded by unfamiliarity and in need of some company and comfort. Ligia and I were gladly able to provide the puppies with some cuddles while they awaited attention from the vets.
Photography :: Nadia Hakim
We love what AYUDA is doing to help the animals in our community. To support their cause, shop our Collars for a Cause here!